The two-time defending state champs reload for another shot at a title. The Knights return six starters, including three linemen, off a defense that gave up 15.3 points per game, second best in the state in 4A. Senior inside linebacker Jake Jorgensen and senior outside linebacker Joseph Sarabia are also back.
The experience extends to the offensive line, where two-way starters Caden Finkley and Harris Irwin aid a unit that lost its quarterback and top three receivers.
“We’ve got some kids that have played three years in a row on the offensive line,” coach Tim Brennan said. “With that experience, they’ll help everybody else that is next to them.”
Fullback Jon Baumgardner adds another road grader out of the backfield. And tailback Ivan Torrez, the Knights’ second-leading rusher in ’14, will mix in with junior Luke Burley and sophomore Rex Irby in a group that should form a potent ground attack.
“There will be six different kids playing in the backfield,” Brennan said. “And they can play in a lot of different combinations. So there is some depth there.”
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PLAYERS TO WATCH
JON BAUMGARDNER, FB/ILB
The 225-pound, change-of-pace back during last year’s title run proved himself a threat both inside the tackles (3.72 yards per carry) and out of the backfield (18.1 yards per catch).
JOSEPH SARABIA, TE/OLB
The 215-pound senior started every game last year at outside linebacker, where his size and athleticism play well in space.
CADEN FINKLEY OL/DL
The 6-3, 255-pound tackle was a first-team All-Idaho offensive lineman last season while also starting at defensive tackle.
HARRIS IRWIN OL/DL
The 6-3, 260-pound senior underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason. But the first-team all-4A SIC pick is back.